Hikers go the extra mile in the inaugural Folkestone Downs Challenge!
Over 350 keen hikers and runners laced up their boots on Saturday 3 September 2022 to embark on Pilgrims Hospices’ brand-new fundraiser, the Folkestone Downs Challenge.
The sun was shining as supporters tackled the 36km course, specifically designed to showcase the spectacular scenery of Kent’s South coast including breathtaking views over the English Channel, Folkestone and Romney Marsh beyond. The day was a huge success and early estimations are that more than £50,000 has been raised for local end-of-life care services in east Kent!
Over 11,500km were collectively hiked by Pilgrims supporters on the day; the equivalent of walking from London to Bangkok, Thailand!
Robert Grew, Events Manager said: “We are absolutely delighted that so many supporters joined us in hiking for hospice care, and to have smashed our anticipated fundraising target is brilliant. The money raised will be helping to provide specialist palliative care services for the people of east Kent on Pilgrims’ wards, Therapy Centres and within the community.”
Supporters were advised to train to take on this tough and hilly challenge, and their preparations and determination paid off as they were welcomed back to applause and a well-deserved medal at the vibrant Folkestone Harbour Arm finish line.
It proved to be an extra special day for couple Sophie Thompson and Naomi Lengyel, who crossed the finish line engaged, after popping the question as the sun was setting over Sandgate beach.
Robert added: “We’ve had great feedback already from our amazing participants. Our team of staff and volunteers work really hard to ensure we have plenty of support along the route and well-stocked refreshment stops to keep spirits up throughout the day. I would like to thank all of the volunteers who help to make our events so special, we couldn’t do this without them.”
This year alone, Pilgrims Hospices has to raise £11 million through voluntary donations and fundraising activities in order to run its full range of services. Sponsorship raised through events like this help the charity to continue caring for local people, and their families, as they near the end of their lives.
13th June 2019
Start your summer on the right foot
New and seasoned walkers alike will be lacing up their walking boots to join the Pilgrims Way Challenge on Saturday 22 June. With over 450 walkers already registered, the sponsored hiking event takes in the rural beauty of one of England’s oldest and least trodden national trails. With the success of the event last year, Pilgrims can now offer three distances, 25km, 35km and 55km; perfect for people of all fitness levels.
In true Pilgrims Hospices style, walkers will be supported throughout the journey with regular, friendly rest stops for food and water, a fully signed route, and medical support.
Hannah Sole, Pilgrims Hospices Supporter Relations Team Leader, and her family will be taking part again this year. Hannah said: “This is such a wonderful challenge. My friends and family enjoyed it so much last year, we decided to get involved again! Everyone was so encouraging, we met some lovely people along the way and visited some perfect rest stops where we had plenty of time to relax and grab a snack or two.
“You need to apply a little effort in some parts of the route, but the rewards are amazing. It’s a great achievement and all of the money raised from registration and sponsorship will provide care for people who need Pilgrims help.”
If you would like to join Hannah and supporters who have already registered, please visit pilgrimswaychallenge.org where you’ll find full details.
Standard entry is £30 until 16 June 2019, or you can sign up on the day for £45.
This fully supported event includes regular rest stops with drinks and snacks, a fully signed route, event t-shirt and a hot meal at our Canterbury hospice (the halfway point for 55km hikers) and at the Dover Castle finish.
By taking part, you’ll be helping Pilgrims Hospices to continue with the work that is so import within the east Kent community.
Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,400 people in East Kent coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress. Click here to find out how we help.
12th March 2019
Brave soles, take on Firewallk challenge to raise in excess of £25,000 for Pilgrims
Over 110 brave supporters faced their fears and conquered Pilgrims Hospices Firewalk at Canterbury University and the Ashford hospice on Friday 1 March and Saturday 2 March 2019.
The challenge involved walking barefoot over red-hot wood embers measuring 800 degrees!
Many were there putting their best foot forward to support the charity who provided end of life cared for friends and loved ones. All those taking part enjoyed a motivational training seminar by firewalk specialist Cliff Mann, before stepping outside to face the flames.
Firewalking is a huge personal challenge.
Cliff Mann – Firewalk Expert
Cliff said: “Firewalking is a huge personal challenge, I’ve been teaching people the skills for 30 years now and I want everyone who makes the walk to raise funds for their chosen charity to have an amazing time and feel completely empowered by the experience.
“I’m proud to say that over the years my training has helped participants to raise over 1.5 million for charitable causes.”
Onlookers were treated to a dazzling display by ‘warm-up act’, Paul Incredible, who performed an array of extraordinary feats in a 15-minute fire show.
Paul said: “It’s a pleasure to be back again for Pilgrims Hospices Firewalk. Through personal experience, I know the importance of the end of life care given and the additional support offered to friends and families who have been touch by their services.”
Robert Grew, Events Fundraiser for Pilgrims Hospices, explains: “It was great to see so many people overcoming such a primal fear and hot-footing it across the coals in support of the hospices. You could see how much it meant to each person once they had made it across; they were beaming from ear to ear! And so, they should be! They’ve all raised an incredible amount of money; vital funds that will mean Pilgrims Hospices can continue to be there for people living with an incurable illness and their families right across east Kent.”
PR Jayne Dunsbee, Lord Mayor Colin Spooner And Frances Smith
Donna Lee Norton (41) And Jane Hedges (49) Whitstable In Honour Of And Motivated By Donna Lee's Friend Who Was Cared For At PHC And Died Week Before Firewalk
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He added: “We’d like to thank the University of Kent Sport for hosting us in Canterbury; I’m pleased that so many supporters were there to cheer our brave walkers across the burning embers.
“Also our thanks to Pilgrims Hospices services team who made it possible to host the event within the hospice grounds in Ashford. It made a very special venue and I’m pleased that so many supporters were there to cheer our brave walkers across the burning embers.”
“Thank you to all of our fabulous volunteers who gave their time freely to look after and feed spectators on the night too.
“Everyone’s help has been key in making the event possible.”
“Sponsorship money is still coming in currently and we can’t wait to announce the final total later this spring,” Robert added.
There are some great challenges and events here Pilgrims Hospices Why not take a look and help Pilgrims help even more people who need specialist care?
Care is provided from three hospice sites in Ashford, Canterbury, and Thanet as well as in patients’ own homes. To offer these services to patients and their families the charity must raise £11 million each year from the generous local community.